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PRESS RELEASE

ASTRONOMERS WITHOUT BORDERS DISTRIBUTING RECYCLED ECLIPSE VIEWING GLASSES IN SOUTH AMERICA FOR DECEMBER 14 SOLAR ECLIPSE

Calabasas, CA, December 11, 2020: Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) is sending recycled eclipse-viewing glasses collected from across the U.S.A., to the people of Argentina and Chile for use during the solar eclipse that crosses the South American continent December 14, 2020.

As a total eclipse of the Sun swept across the continental U.S.A. from coast to coast on August 21, 2017, millions of eclipse glasses were used to safely witness this dramatic celestial event. AWB, with support from its long time corporate partner Explore Scientific, launched a nationwide grassroots initiative to collect gently used eclipse glasses and give them a second life before they reached landfills unnecessarily.

Through the enthusiastic support of local libraries, schools, museums, city halls, police stations, National Parks, commercial businesses, community organizations and even children, over 1,000 collection centers quickly popped up from coast to coast to ensure that as many glasses as possible could be recycled. Glasses were sent to Explore Scientific’s Arkansas warehouse where they were inspected by volunteers from non-profit group North West Arkansas Space to make sure they meet safety certifications, and are not damaged or counterfeit.

By the end of the collecting campaign over 5 million were received and AWB began distributing them for future eclipses, already having sent 40,000 glasses to Argentina, Chile and Peru for the July 2,2019 total eclipse, and more than 20,000 to India, Sri Lanka and China for the December 26, 2019 annular eclipse, and 16,000 to Ethiopia for the June 21, 2020 annular eclipse.

“The generosity of those who saw the sun disappear in one continent to the eyes of thousands seeing a similar event in another continent has given hope and inspiration that reaches beyond any border,” said Zoe Chee, interim Executive Director of Astronomers Without Borders.

“In these uncertain times, this is what we need the most.”

Despite the challenging environment imposed by COVID-19 crisis, Astronomers Without Borders, with collaboration Instituto de Tecnologías en Detección y Astropartículas (ITeDA), in Argentina is able to send 40,000 glasses distributed to the public in the Neuquén province.

Over 6,000 glasses have gone to Chile and with the help of Fundacion Janequeo, we are distributing them to very low-income school districts and rural areas in Región de Ñuble-Alerce, and to the largest indigenous groups of Chile, the Mapuche communities across the Region de los Lagos, Catripulli, and Region de La Araucanía.

“For our organization, having the opportunity to promote astronomy by taking advantage of this wonderful event is a privilege. The children and the communities that will benefit from the glasses will have the opportunity to be amazed by the eclipse in a safe and effective way,” said Yasmin Catricheo, President of Fundacion Janequeo, and AWB Board of Directors member.

“We hope that this draws attention to the communities of the Mapuche people, who are some of the most under-represented communities in science.”

AWB extends a special thank you to the US Embassy in Santiago, Chile and the Chilean Embassy in Washington DC for the shipment of all the glasses to Chile.

AWB is now seeking public and private sponsors and partners to support shipping and distribution of more solar glasses for upcoming eclipses and other outreach programs.

AWB will be offering a livestream of the solar eclipse on December 14, 2020, sharing a broadcast from Chile. Watch here: https://www.facebook.com/astronomerswithoutborders

Check out more background information and ‘Hope in the Time of COVID-19’ update about our eclipse glasses distribution program here: https://astronomerswithoutborders.org/204-uncategorised/5021-a-second-chance-what-happened-to-all-those-donated-glasses.html

Astronomers Without Borders is a US 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit charitable organization incorporated in California.

About Astronomers Without Borders: Astronomers Without Borders connects people worldwide through innovative programs that are accessible to everyone regardless of geography and culture. Combining local events with online technology and a global community, Astronomers Without borders is a leader in promoting understanding and peaceful international relations, while also supporting outreach and education in astronomy. For more information visit:www.astronomerswithoutborders.org.

For our eclipse glasses press image gallery visit:
https://astronomerswithoutborders.org/204-uncategorised/5027-recycled-eclipse-glasses-press-images.html

Zoe Chee
Interim Executive Director, Astronomers Without Borders
Email: zoe@astronomerswithoutborders.org
Mobile: +1 (514) 966-5175

Andrew Fazekas
Communications Manager, Astronomers Without Borders
Email: andrew@astronomerswithoutborders.org
Mobile: (438) 872-1672

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